First Attempt Gaming Rig

My current gaming rig is a little outdated, and the guy that built it for me moved away, so I figured I would attempt to build my own. The rig I'm using now has a hard time playing the games I like in low settings. I would like to build one that has no problems running in high or max settings. I am currently playing some online games, but I would like to be able to play fallout 3, diablo 3, Far Cry 2, Crysis, and such.

I want a rig that is awesome for gaming but also has storage for my extensive collection of movies and music. The case I chose, has plenty of room for expansion, plus it looks bad ass, I'm kind of a sap for the lighting. To give you guys/girls and idea of the difference I am looking for I'll list my old rig as well, and the suggestions from my friends and my ideas.

Current rig (was built 6 years ago):

AMD Athlon XP 3200+ 2.19ghz
1gb of ram (single)
ASUS A7N8X-X motherboard
Radeon 9800 Pro
160gb maxtor/340gb WD
XP Pro SP3

I got some advice from a couple of my friends that have built their own rigs. So the list of items below is a copulation of my ideas with their suggestions. I have about $2,000-$2,500 to spend, I priced the items on newegg, total was around $1600-$1800 so far. With that in mind my friends suggested these items:

Processor: Intel Core 2 Quad Q9550 2.83GHz LGA 775 95W

Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-EP45-DS3L ATX

HD1: Western Digital Caviar Black 640GB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s

HD2/3: Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 1.5TB 3.5" SATA 3.0Gb/s

RAM: CORSAIR 4GB(2 x 2GB) DDR2 800 (PC2 6400) Dual Channel Kit

Graphics: BFG Tech GeForce GTX 260 BFGEGTX260MC896OCE Video Card

Case: XCLIO 1000 Black / Silver Computer Case

Disc Drive: SAMSUNG 22X DVD±R DVD Burner Black IDE Model

PS: XCLIO GREATPOWER X14S4P4 750W ATX12V SLI Certified CrossFire Ready Modular Active PFC Power Supply

OS: Windows XP Pro

Sound Card: ??

The ram my friend suggested is the only thing I have concerns about.

Any and all suggestions are welcome, as this is my first attempt at a gaming rig.
11 answers Last reply
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  1. What you have will be ok. The ram suggested is appropriate.
    But here are some of my thoughts:

    With your budget, think about a i7 920 based system.

    Get 6gb of ram in triple channel mode.

    Use Vista-64 perhaps home premium, and not XP

    For the OS and programs, look at the Velociraptor. The storage drives are ok.

    Go for the GTX 260 216 version at least, if not the GTX280. Wait a bit on this, because some price cuts are coming, perhaps in concert with the 55nm versions. If you buy now, get a EVGA card for the 90 day "step-up" program in case you change your mind.

    Defer the sound card. The cpu savings are no longer worth it, and onboard HD sound is very good. Some sound cards have driver issues.

    Spend some cash on a very good monitor, at least 24". You will be looking at this for a long time.

    Get the case you like the looks of, so long as it has decent ventilation.

    ---good luck---
  2. I couldn't agree more about the Velociraptor. I have 2 comps right now. 1 has a 7200 rpm WD 160 as its main drive and the other has a 10k RPM raptor drive with a 640 for storage. The comp with the raptor is 20-30% more responsive to not only booting to windows but loading any application. It's a bigger bottleneck than you might originally think.

    Truth is, If I had a $2,000 - $2,500 budget, I'd get the i7 920 based system and probably throw in the new Intel 80 gig SSD drives that have reads up to 200 mb/s.

    I never would have done this in the past until I saw how much the raptor affected system speed.
  3. Get DDR2-800 that runs at its advertised timings on the JEDEC standard (and system default) 1.8V.
    For the amount of money you're spending, you will appreciate the speed of a Velociraptor as your OS drive.
    Unless you are planning to add them to your new rig, you might want to get one or two external enclosures for your existing hard drives. Keep them around as a backup.
  4. Could you repost with the links in newegg?? Thanks (it make it a bit easier to find stuff)!

    But wait... there's more!

    Without looking too specifically at specs and all, your choice of hardware is ok. However, the motherboard has a couple of limitations:

    1- No SLI/Crossfire Support
    2- No Firewire (on the backplane or internal/header)

    As far as overclocking support this board seems OK (FSB1600 Max supported). This is relevant if you are going to overclock (which I'm guessing you'll pass on since its your first build.)

    Good alternatives are:
    EVGA 132-YW-E178-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI FTW (my pick for you for the faster FSB)
    or the almost twin brother
    EVGA 132-CK-NF78-A1 LGA 775 NVIDIA nForce 780i SLI (what I personnaly use because the above did not exist back then)

    The have SLI, and Firewire (internal and on the back), a good number of SATA/USB ports. The FTW edition is a bit better at handling OC'n stresses. It also runs natively at a higher FSB speed (DDR2-1066 vs DDR2-800)

    Sound coming out of these motherboards is not shabby either (read... this is the cleanest sounding rig I've had)

    The Ram... 2GB (2x1GB) sticks of G.SKILL 2GB (2 x 1GB) 240-Pin DDR2 SDRAM DDR2 1066 (PC2 8500) Dual Channel Kit Desktop Memory
    XP can't handle more than 3.somethingsomething at 32bits.

    The hard disks... you might as well have 2x1.5TB or 1x1TB + 1x1.5TB. Get them all seagate (I have 1x1TB Seagate 1x1TB Hitachi, seagate is noticably faster)

    DVD-R, Samsung is good, you can also check out Lite-on (that wha t I've been using for a while... get the OEM SATA version and save a couple of pennies.)

    Sound Card... You could do away with a sound card if the mobo has good sound... do you have a surround setup and an audiophile ear (or other preferences)?

    Power... 750W is good enough for most everything, all that you really need are the correct connectors. Make sure that your video cards are well taken care of (ex. my 2x9800 nVidias take 2x6pin ansd 2x8pin power connectors, but they change it on a couple of different cards so that you have 2x6pin connectors on each card, so make sure that you power matches what you need) I use an Antec 850W, my rig usually is getting 350W from the wall so everything is running below limit.

    Case... xClio 1000 is nice! There seems to be enough space for long video cards and the Power Supply is situated near the middle, which allows for better cable management. Be warned, its probably huge!

    Last, but certainly not least, video...
    First... what res are you playing at (2560x1600... etc, this makes a huge difference to the horsepower needed)?
    260 is good for normal resolutions, you could go for an SLI setup of these and you pretty much need not worry about anything for a while.
    If you want a single card get the 4870x2 and you pretty much need not worry about anything for a while (although you cannot SLI it :( )
    Do not buy BFG Tech, buy XFX or EVGA for nVidia.
  5. CPU:



    Hard drive, 2 of these (you don't need more than 1TB of storage, but you can have more if you want. A faster hard drive wont make much a difference)

    Power supply, much better in quality than the one you linked, it wotn go BOOM:

    Case, the one you linked is fine, but this one is nice too and you can always add all the pretty lights you want:

    Graphics card, get 2 of these:

    That system is about $1600-$1700 and will VASTLY outperform any previously mentioned system!
  6. Why use i7 920 2.66ghz vs the Q9550 2.83ghz both on newegg are around $320?

    Vista 64 sp1 vs XP Pro, will the set up work with XP or am I stuck with having to use Vista...I thought Vista was a problem OS. If Vista 64 is better and wont cause me any problems, I could go with that, but I prefer XP Pro.
  7. Vista 64 SP1 is actually faster than XP Pro (32 bit). I tested this about 3 weeks ago on a new build for a guy...I just got done installing XP on mine and Vista 64 on his...he booted about 10 seconds faster (and I have a Raptor) and his system just seemed...snappier. The issues people had with Vista are usually from a couple things...

    1) bloatware from their Dell/BestBuy/Gateway PC or
    2) they have a work PC with Vista and it has a lot of domain scripts that run, domain logon...etc...

    I would rather go to Vista due to DX10 the multi-core support (which is better than XP's), and the fact that its 64 bit and does away with that pesky memory addressing limitation.
  8. The i7 920 will outperform the Q9550 by MASSIVE amounts! The only place where the Q9550 can come close to the i7 920 is in some low end gaming, but that is it.

    Edit: compare the 2
  9. Very Interesting. I appreciate the suggestions and advice. Thanks.
  10. I'm surprised no one has mentioned this: I've heard several problems with the Seagate 7200.11 disks. Not being seen by bios, which would be a big problem. I'm not sure of the current state of this "disaster" but I figure I should bring it up in case someone more knowledgeable comes along.

    I second going i7, with your budget its much better. BloodRaven mentioned an excellent power supply, the one you had originally is poor, and that's the worst thing to have poor quality. Bad PSU = PC Meltdown (think massive hardware failure).

    Now that I read it all, go with BloodRaven's build, it's MUCH better than your original.
  11. I too am building my first gaming rig. The only reasason I want it is to run crysis on ultra high graphics smoothly with all settings maxed (Besides the fact that I love video games). That's with aa turned on and everything. For some reason I have become completely obsessed with researching what components would work best to accomplish this goal. I have a similiar budget, and I was just wondering what suggestions you guys might want to throw at me. Again, all settings maxed! If I cant do it with this budget tell me what I can do with my budget to get the best possible results. Ive also heard about graphic mods and tweaks that will help if I don't quite have the system to run the game on ultra high effeciently. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
    :bounce: THANK YOU!!!!! :bounce:
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